Monthly Archives: November 2015

Elfriede Steffan, Barbara Kavemann, Tzvetina Arsova Netzelmann, Cornelia Helfferich: Final Report from the study of the federal model project “Support for Leaving Prostitution”, September 2015. 

Abridged report available here in English and German.

Original title of the report in German: Unterstützung des Ausstiegs aus der Prostitution – Kurzfassung des Abschlussberichtes der wissenschaftlichen Begleitung zum Bundesmodellprojekt


Rachel Lovell and Ann Jordan, “Do John Schools Really Decrease Recidivism? A methodological critique of an evaluation of the San Francisco First Offender Prostitution Program”. Published online, July 2012

A growing number of governments are creating “john schools” in the belief that providing men with information about prostitution will stop them from buying sex, which will in turn stop prostitution and trafficking. John schools typically offer men arrested for soliciting paid sex the opportunity (for a fee) to attend lectures by health experts, law enforcement and former sex workers in exchange for cleared arrest records if they are not re-arrested within a certain period of time. A 2008 examination of the San Francisco john school, “Final Report on the Evaluation of the First Offender Prostitution Program,” claims to be the first study to prove that attending a john school leads to a lower rate of recidivism or re-arrest (Shively et al.). Despite its claims, the report offers no reliable evidence that the john school classes reduce the rate of re-arrests.

This paper analyzes the methodology and data used in the San Francisco study and concludes that serious flaws in the research design led the researchers to claim a large drop in re-arrest rates that, in fact, occurred before the john school was implemented.

Full text available here.


The primary goal of this study was to evaluate similarities and differences between exotic dancers and non-dancing female university students on demographic variables, self-esteem, aspects of personality, attitudes toward sex and sexuality, and attitudes toward exotic dance and exotic dancers. A total of 230 predominately English speaking females participated. A one-way multivariate analysis of covariance was conducted to examine differences between students and exotic dancers on the dependent variables. After adjusting for level of education, Wilks’ criterion confirmed a statistically significant effect of group. Follow-up univariate analyses illustrated that exotic dancers reported significantly more sexual permissiveness than their non-dancer counterparts, reflecting a more casual, open attitude toward sex. Students endorsed sexual practices that may be perceived as more responsible, such as their higher scores on a measure of birth control use. Further, students scored higher on a scale of sexual communion, indicating an endorsement of sex as the ideal or “peak experience”. Consistent with expectations, there were no significant differences between groups in perceptions of exotic dance as a normative activity or as a matter of choice. As well, there were no differences on measures of self-esteem, extraversion, or neuroticism. These findings suggest that exotic dancers and female students reveal similar characteristics on measures of personality, self-esteem, and attitudes toward exotic dance.


Intimidated from leaving the house [of prostitution], forced to submit her person to the last indignity that can be inflicted upon a woman, here she was a slave as was ever any negro upon Virginian soil.1

On 2 January 1880, Alfred Stace Dyer, a publisher and opponent of state-regulated prostitution, wrote to the Daily News to expose the fact that young English girls were immured in the licensed brothels of the near Continent. With this, the phenomenon of sex trafficking entered popular consciousness in England and the country’s anti-trafficking movement was inaugurated. The domestic campaign against the regulation of prostitution, led by the revered women’s rights activist Josephine Butler, had been the prime force in England’s fight against systematic female sexual exploitation since 1869. The anti-trafficking movement, in contrast, was, and would continue to be, dominated by men.

The leaders of the new movement predicated their rhetoric on distinct concepts of domesticity, masculine duty and nationhood. Configurations of these concepts formed the ideological bedrock of dominant representations of sex trafficking during the first chapter of anti-trafficking activism in England between 1880 and 1912 (the year in which the Criminal Law Amendment (CLA) Bill that was promoted as the country’s first anti-trafficking measure was being debated). Employing variations of the doctrine of social purity, the leaders represented themselves as archetypal ‘fathers’ who, by defending the nation’s daughters from trafficking, were preserving English domesticity, the moral fabric of society and ultimately the welfare of the nation and empire. They promoted the need for other ‘ordinary men’ to follow their lead and help repel what they urged was a profound racial threat to national interests. Amid controversy over the 1912 CLA Bill, certain male activists subverted these notions through discourses that condemned anti-trafficking advocates, and turned ‘the home’ into a contested terrain for the men engaging with the question of sex trafficking. They cast particular organisations that were campaigning against trafficking as the real threat to English womanhood and domesticity, and positioned themselves, the (male) critics of anti-trafficking protest, as the true heads of household and guardians of national interests.

The centrality of concepts of masculine domesticity in dominant discourses of sex trafficking, I argue in this article, had important consequences. It caused a repressive politics of patriarchy to prevail in key portrayals of trafficking that exalted ‘the respectable white English male’ above all others. Specifically, it caused representations that progressively stigmatised the victims of trafficking, marginalised women, and demonised certain ‘foreigners’ to accompany – and detract from – the practical inroads that were made by the country’s anti-trafficking movement throughout the period.


The invisibility of men and boys in scholarly discussions of the global sex trade was analyzed through a sample of 166 recent articles published in social science journals. Most failed to acknowledge the existence of male sex workers at all. When male sex workers were discussed, they were assigned considerably more agency than female sex workers, the chief danger ascribed to them was HIV rather than violence, and the question of their sexual orientation was always addressed, whereas female sex workers were always assumed heterosexual. The results are discussed in the context of world system theory, Orientalism, and heteronormativity.

Full text available for free at

Some research on male clients of female prostitutes argues that clients are simply seeking unemotional sexual release or looking for wild and varied sexual experiences. Yet other sex workers portray clients as lonely, vulnerable, and desiring of emotional connection with women. Rather than view this as an “either-or” scenario—in which all clients fit one profile—we construct two dichotomous models of masculinity for clients and explore their attitudes toward women and sex. Men in the fragile masculinities category feel uncomfortable around women, unattractive to women, and rejected by women in the sexual marketplace, while consumer masculinities men get excited by approaching a prostitute, seek a variety of partners, and do not want the responsibilities of a relationship. We find that fragile masculinities men may be more dangerous to women than consumer masculinities men.